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Must Have Gear for Hot Yoga: Mats, Towels, Clothes and Accessories

One of the questions I get asked most frequently is about the best gear for hot yoga. I shared my favorites back in 2011 on the day that I taught my first class at Y2 Yoga. WOW to how long that’s been and WOW to how long I’ve been at this blogging stuff. My seventh blog birthday is coming up in April.

A yoga teacher's top picks for the must-have gear for hot yoga!

Needless to say, we’re due an update since many of you weren’t reading back in 2011 and I have a few new faves to share with you.

The Best Yoga Mat

Manduka Pro Yoga Mat

I am Manduka Pro for life. I got their basic black pro mat almost seven years ago and my mat is literally still as good as new. They actually come with a lifetime guarantee. My mat has withstood thousands of practices (and its fair share of tears). What I love about the Manduka Pro mat is that it’s thick and supportive and once I lay it out on the floor, it doesn’t move, shift or wrinkle. It’s also think it has a great amount of grip to it and I can often get away with not using a mat towel on top of it (see the next section for more details on that).

The only consideration is that this mat is a little heavy so if you walk or bike to yoga, that may be a deterrent. And while I have the basic black mat, they now offer the Pro in so many awesome colors.

Manduka Pro Lite Yoga Mat

If you’re looking to lighten up a bit, go with the Manduka Pro Lite. It’s a super lightweight version of the Pro but not as thick or wide. I keep one of these in Florida to practice on when I visit my parents. It’s great for taking your mat on the go and also comes in a variety of colors and with a lifetime guarantee.

The Best Hot Yoga Mat Towel

Yogitoes Mat Towel for Hot Yoga

We sell SO MANY Yogitoes Non-Slip Mat Towels at the studio. And for good reason. The idea behind mat towels is that you place them over your mat for classes where you are super sweaty and find your hands and feet slipping on your mat. The Yogitoes utilize silicone nubs to grip your mat and keep your towel in place.

Tip: your Yogitoes has to be a little damp or sweaty to feel grippy. You will slide on it if the mat is dry and your palms/feet are dry. Either spray the hand/feet areas with water (you’ll find spray bottles in most hot yoga studios) or wait until you start sweating to lay your Yogitoes out on your mat.

Manduka eQua Hot Yoga Towels

Coming in at $68, Yogitoes are a bit of an investment. If you’re looking for something cheaper, check out Manduka’s Equa mat towels. They’re similar to Yogitoes but don’t have the silicone grips. Personally, I like them just as much as Yogitoes and they’re $30 cheaper. You can even get a red one on sale at Nordstrom Rack for $28.

The Best Hot Yoga Leggings

Liquido Leggings

My go-to practice uniform these days is patterned leggings and a sports bra. I love, love, love Liquido leggings. They are so lightweight and comfortable for practice but they aren’t see through! Also, they dry super quickly.

DonaJo Leggings

I also love DonaJo leggings. They come in at a slightly lower price point than Liquido but I would say the quality, fit, feel and function is similar.

Wunder Under Crops

And if basic black is your thing, you can’t beat a pair of Wunder Unders from Lululemon. They come in hi-rise too, which apparently is the style that’s gaining most popularity according to a recent strategic partner class I sat on for the studio. (We carry Lululemon.)

The Best Sports Bra

Lululemon Free to Be Bra

Free to Be

I am a Lululemon Free To Be addict and I own eight of these bras in various styles and colors. This is the most basic Free to Be.

Lululemon Free to Be Zen Bra

Free to Be Zen

 You’ll almost always find me wearing this bra. (Check out my yoga flows on my Power Yoga Flow account for proof!)

Lululemon Free to Be Tranquil Bra

Free to Be Tranquil

Note, I don’t need a lot of support with bras so if you are looking for high-support, this probably isn’t the best fit for you.

Tip: I used to size up in these bras but now I find they fit true to size.

The Best Tops

Lululemon Power Y Tank

If you’re looking for something fitted, I love the Lululemon Power Y Tank and I have it in so many colors

Lululemon Yogi Racerback Tank

If you want something more loose fitting, check out Lululemon’s Yogi Racerback Tank. (Super cute with the Free to Be bras under.)

Accessories + ETC

Yogitoes Headbands

These Yogitoes hbands are so basic but they work! They stay in place and at $4 a pop, they’re cheap! They come in a million different colors and I think I own no fewer than 20.

Ultima Replinisher

When it comes to hot yoga, hydration is essential for both feeling good during your practice and after. Oftentimes it’s helpful to add an electrolyte replacement to your water for a little something extra. I’ve been using Ultima Replinisher for probably five years now. It’s vegan, gluten-free and has no sugar, carbs, calories or caffeine. It’s made with plant-based colors and real fruit flavors. They sweeten with stevia leaf (this is pretty much one of the only times I do stevia and it’s not overpowering). They also never add artificial flavors or sweeteners.

Lululemon Duffle Bag

Need a bag? I’ve had my Lululemon duffle for over 5 years. They are geniuses at making bags and I swear they think of everything. It includes yoga mat straps that can be put away when you don’t need them, a special compartment for sweaty clothes, a heat resistant compartment for things like your hair straightener, a media pocket and more.

I think that wraps up my top recommendations. I hope you find this helpful and I’d love to hear your must-haves in the comments! 🙂





{ 18 comments… add one }
  • Lauren Marie Mills January 31, 2017, 10:49 pm

    Any favorites as far as flavors for the ultima drink?

    • Jen February 1, 2017, 4:49 pm

      Grape is my #1 but I also like the lemonade and the cherry pom!

  • Karlie Kashat February 1, 2017, 7:10 am

    I LOVED this post <3 so many good reccs! Thanks Jen

    • Jen February 1, 2017, 4:49 pm

      you’re so welcome Karlie! 🙂

  • Amanda February 1, 2017, 9:12 am

    Thanks Jen! How do you think the Manduka Pro compares to Lululemon’s “The Mat”?

    • Jen February 1, 2017, 4:49 pm

      I have a lot of thoughts on this! 🙂

      So, clearly I love Lululemon…as you can tell from this post. But I do not love their yoga mat. I have practiced on it a few times and have a lot of students who use it. The draw to them is that they’re “no slip” and that you don’t need a mat towel. And they do work fairly well in that capacity. Here are the drawbacks I would consider…
      – they are super smelly when they’re new and the odor is crazy not good
      – anytime i’ve practiced on it, it doesn’t stay flat on the floor and will wrinkle and bunch
      – the colored ones get really dirty and discolored
      – i’ve seen them kind of fall apart after a lot of use (but note that lulu will replace the mat if you ask)

      Hope that helps!

      • Amanda February 1, 2017, 7:11 pm

        That helps a lot! I was just curious if you’d ever made a comparison. I have a lulu mat, and I’m very happy with it. Its funny, when I go down into child’s pose that smell is actually very centering for me, I associate it with my mat and it makes me feel like I’ve come “home”! To each their own. If I’m ever in the market for a new mat I’ll definitely consider your recommendation 🙂

  • eliz February 1, 2017, 9:21 am

    Do you like the original free to be bra also and does it fit tts? I tried it a couple years ago and when I sized up a size the front was too baggy, but tts seemed a bit small.

    • Jen February 1, 2017, 4:10 pm

      The original is my least favorite. I like the Zen, Wile and Tranquil much better. I do have to size up in the original but not the others for some reason?

      • eliz February 1, 2017, 7:08 pm

        Thank you

  • Joy February 1, 2017, 9:43 am

    Thank you for the update, Jen. I bought the Manduka Pro and the mat towel based on your recommendation back in 2011 and just like you said…they are the best. My Manduka Pro mat still looks brand new and I love the thickness and the length. So glad you share these recommendations. I’m now going to check out that duffle!

    • Jen February 1, 2017, 4:09 pm

      You’re so welcome! I’m so happy to hear that my suggestions worked out well for you! 🙂 I just love the quality of the Manduka mats. You can’t beat it.

  • tara February 1, 2017, 1:14 pm

    i also have the manduka mat and while i love how supportive it is and its held up nicely i cannot use it at all without a towel on it. i slip all over. when i contacted the company they suggested i lightly wet the mat and put kosher salt on it and scrub and then rinse. the idea is the salt would scrub off some of the manufacturer coating that can be slippery. well all that did was make my mat gritty and salty for a week LOL. after 3+ years its still super slippery so a towel is a must for me ! i will have to check out those leggings !

    • Jen February 1, 2017, 4:08 pm

      Hey Tara!

      I’m glad you like the quality of your mat but I’m so sad to hear that you find it to be really slippery! 🙁 Mine feels so grippy unless it gets really sweaty and then I need a hand towel under my palms.

  • Tracy February 1, 2017, 1:44 pm

    Great list! Thanks for sharing. I have several of these items and also love them. Yogitoes makes patterned mat towels that are gorgeous! I have a couple of them (including this one, https://www.manduka.com/yoga-towels/yogitoes-towels/yogitoesr-gejia.html), and the colors are even more vibrant and they are even prettier in-person than in photos. Also can’t live without my Lululemon duffel (so agree with you on this), and Hydroflask water bottles (https://www.hydroflask.com/40-oz-wide-bottle#92=20). The 40 oz. is perfect for a 90-minute class and the drive home.

    • Jen February 1, 2017, 4:07 pm

      Hey Tracy!

      I love those patterned Yogitoes. We sell them at the studio and they are gorgeous!

      I will check out those water bottles as I am forever losing mine! 🙂

      • Tracy February 1, 2017, 4:29 pm

        Jen, literally carry my Hydroflask everywhere! To work every day, to yoga class, on vacations. They are the best–they are insulated and they don’t sweat. Bought my first one before trip to Europe during a very hot summer. Will keep whatever you’re drinking cold for hours and hours in the most extreme temperatures. If you buy one, I would recommend getting one with a wide mouth (easier to add ice), and a flip top (https://www.hydroflask.com/hydro-flip#92=20, my favorite) or a straw top. The top that twists off can get a little tight and can sometimes be a little difficult to get off.

  • Holly February 7, 2017, 10:13 am

    I have been using the Black Mat Pro ever since you first recommended it. I also have black and wish I had a different color now! The logo sticker is kind of coming off mine but otherwise I agree it’s hard to destruct.

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